What I learned from reading Swimming Across by Andrew S. Grove.
Come see a live show with me and Patrick O'Shaughnessy from Invest Like The Best on October 19th in New York City.
-ask me questions directly
-listen to Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes
-listen to every bonus episode
[0:01] I was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1936. By the time I was twenty, I had lived through a Hungarian Fascist dictatorship, German military occupation, the Nazis’ “Final Solution,” the siege of Budapest by the Soviet Red Army, a period of chaotic democracy in the years immediately after the war, a variety of repressive Communist regimes, and a popular uprising that was put down at gunpoint.
[3:02] Some 200,000 Hungarians escaped to the West. I was one of them.
[8:05] A subtle and compelling commentary on the power to endure.
[10:03] He dedicates this book to his mom. He says: To my mother, who gave me the gift of life more than once.
[13:03] People avoided looking at us. Even people whom we knew wouldn’t meet our eyes. It was as if a barrier was growing between us and everyone else.
[14:01] My mother returned in a couple of hours, shaken up. She told me that the man who came for her was a policeman who arrested her along with the superintendent’s wife. Feeding Jewish people was against the law. The policeman told her that she should have bid me a more proper good-bye because she probably would not see me again.
[18:35] There was so much pressure in my chest that I could barely breathe. After a while, my mother came back for me. She was very tense and angry. She carried me to bed and we went to sleep. Later on that night, some more Russians came into our cellar. My mother yelled at them something about how all three of the women had already done it today.
[23:02] An emaciated man, filthy and in a ragged soldier’s uniform, was standing at the open door. I thought: This must be my father. His arms and legs were like sticks.
[25:49] There was nothing to be done. The Communist government called all the shots. They increasingly interfered with our daily life. They took away my parents’ business, they uprooted me from my school.
[28:09] I always had a tight feeling in my chest when we went by because by now I knew my relatives had been taken from that house to be killed.
[33:30] Life is like a big lake. All the boys get in the water at one end and start swimming. Not all of them will swim across. But one of them, I’m sure will. That one is Grove.
[37:28] In the middle of one bitterly cold winter night, my father’s battalion was made to strip naked and climb trees, and the guards sprayed them with water and watched and laughed as one after another fell out of the trees frozen to death.
[43:52] I thought I had made an important discovery. I realized that it’s good to have at least two interests in your life. If you have only one interest and that goes sour, there’s nothing to act as a counterbalance to lift your mood. But if you have more than one interest, chances are something will always go okay.
[52:11] I wished there were no mortars falling on our house and no Russian soldiers in our apartment. I wanted the trams to run again. I wanted to go back to school. I wanted life to go back to normal.
[56:24] After a while, we emerged from the woods. I could see some faint lights far across an open field. The man came close to us. “Those lights are Austria’, he whispered. ‘Head towards them and don’t take your eyes off them. This is as far as I go.’ And he was gone. I didn’t take my eyes off those lights. I trudged toward them as if they were a magnet.
Subscribe to listen to Founders Premium — Subscribers can ask me questions directly which I will answer in Ask Me Anything (AMA) episodes
“I have listened to every episode released and look forward to every episode that comes out. The only criticism I would have is that after each podcast I usually want to buy the book because I am interested so my poor wallet suffers. ” — Gareth
Be like Gareth. Buy a book: All the books featured on Founders Podcast